Branding your business: A guide for beginners
Branding can make or break your business. Designer Serena Manda fills us in on what to consider and provides her top tips on building an effective brand.
Branding is about so much more than a logo – it’s a reflection of who you are and what you stand for. Branding is what makes you stand out from your competition, it’s the overall feeling the consumer develops towards the company or product, which is what makes it unique!
Good branding plays a huge part in consumer confidence, so focusing on your brand can make all the difference when it comes to securing and retaining custom. I’ve been a brand specialist and designer for many years and I’m going to share what I’ve learnt around building a strong brand.
What’s makes a brand identity?
Your brand identity is your unique combination of:
- Products and/or services
- Company name
- Values and mission
- Tone of voice
- Colour palette and fonts.
What makes your brand stand out?
Your values and mission are the core of what your business is and does. The same product or service can become a completely different proposition by branding it in a different way, attracting a completely different audience. The aim is to connect, inspire and persuade your target audience to buy or use your services. The key is to have a clear, simple message that your target audience can relate to.
You are ultimately building a brand personality. All of the elements I mention above need to work together and communicate the same message to create this unique identity, which is why knowing your target audience is key to creating your brand.
Understanding your target audience
A great way to understand your target audience is to create an avatar – a representation of your ideal customer’s traits. This is a good exercise to really dig deep into the detail of your ideal client. When you’re building your avatar, be really specific about traits such as gender, age, profession, personality and income. Where do they live? Where do they shop? Think about who you want to be working with or showcasing your products to? Give your avatar a name. You can even find a photo on the internet that best represents your ideal client.
Establishing a clear idea of your avatar will give you direction and help you to focus your conversation when writing content for social media and blogging, so that you can build a long-term relationship with your ideal client.
Always be consistent with your tone of voice and brand. Stick to your values and consider how you come across. Are you being authentic? Think about your avatar; what does your ideal customer want to know? How can you help them? Make your content relatable. You’re aiming to create a loyal community of customers who share the same values.
Your company name is the first thing that people will know about you. When you’re coming up with a company name think long-term, make it relevant and memorable and be unique. When you’re setting up social media accounts, I would recommend using the same social media handle across all platforms, so that your business is easy to find and memorable.
TIP: Always check the name is available on social media before you buy the domain name. You can do this with namecheckr. You just enter the company name and it will check all platforms for you.
Once you have a clear idea of the outline of your brand – your name, your values, your audience – you can put together some concepts for a logo. Keep it clear and simple. You don’t want anything too fussy, so that it easily translates however big or small.
Consider your target audience when you’re developing your logo. Is it a high end luxury brand or fun and funky brand for children? This will determine the colours and fonts and overall look of the logo.
Think about the colour palette. What colours do you like and don’t like? Look at the meaning of colours and how they would work with your brand. Colours convey certain emotions, so you need to select the right ones. For example, blues are said to represent trust and reliability, while pastels represent nurturing and security.
You ideally want a colour palette of five to six colours, including a pop colour that you can use throughout your branding, for your website, marketing material, advertising and social media.
Ideally you would choose a primary and secondary font for titles and body text, that complement each other. You can also have an accent font to use in marketing material and social media.
Think about what fonts you like and don’t like. Serif or sans serif? Look at the style of the font and how they would reflect your brand.
Being consistent with you brand
To keep on brand you must always be thinking about your ideal customer.
Remember to be consistent with your core values, tone of voice, colour palette/ fonts, logo and show your face now and again, so that your potential customers know who you are and who they are buying from.
All of these factors, help your brand become recognisable and consistent. It’s all about building relationships with people, so they know, like and trust you!
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